Latest UK HPI data shows annual house price growth hit 2.5% in August

Latest UK HPI data shows annual house price growth hit 2.5% in August

Although somewhat historic, data released by the ONS and the Land Registry is widely regarded as being one of the most accurate barometers of the Uk housing market. The latest release reveals that UK house prices increased by 2.5% over the year to August, up from 2.1% in July 2020.

According to the figures, average house prices increased over the year in England to £256,000 ( a rise of 2.8%), Wales to £173,000 (2.7%), Scotland to £155,000 (0.6%) and Northern Ireland to £141,000 (3.0%).

UK HPI research also revealed that the East Midlands was the English region to see the highest annual growth in average house prices (3.6%), while the North East saw the lowest (0.2%).

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, average house prices saw a monthly rise of 0.7% between July and August, compared with an increase of 0.3% in the same period a year ago. On a seasonally adjusted basis, average prices increased by 0.5%, following a decrease of 0.5% in the previous month.

Anna Clare Harper, CEO of asset manager SPI Capital, says: “HMRC’s figures are of interest as they represent a more complete picture than comparable indices.

“What’s interesting about the September 2020 data is that transaction volumes are on a par with transactions in September 2019.

“This suggests that the temporary changes to stamp duty designed to boost confidence in the housing market have worked well to achieve this goal. There are very few sectors where buyers and sellers feel as confident as they did in September 2019.

“What happens next will be a reflection of policy and economics. Trade bodies such as RICS, as well as government policymakers, will play a significant role in the future of the housing market, as they have in the story that has played out so far in 2020.

“For potential home buyers and investors, the key will be not taking on too much credit, despite the relatively cheap cost of debt at present, as it is very difficult to forecast what will happen next.”

Lucy Pendleton, property expert at James Pendleton estate agents, commented: “This was the moment the market began to catch fire over the summer having emerged from the pandemic in better shape than many predicted. Now, as we enter autumn, the heat still isn’t coming out of this market.

“There’s been some talk lately of what effect the removal of many high LTV mortgages is having on the first-time buyer market which is as much a leading indicator as the all-important London market. In the capital, where these two worlds collide, it’s having very little effect. Demand for cheaper properties hasn’t weakened and that’s because the bank of mum and dad is still wide open for business, interest rates remain low and high rents mean it’s still well worth getting on the property ladder.

“As long as mortgage repayments remain cheaper than the cost of rent, demand to buy a first home will continue to show strength, and first-time buyers everywhere are still able to turn to the Help to Buy scheme if they need to.

“We are about to hit a period when the market traditionally slows down. When the clocks change, people switch into hibernation mode and new enquiries begin to soften until the New Year. How much the stamp duty holiday will affect that this year remains to be seen, but this incentive plays a relatively muted role in the capital where prices are highest.”

Tenant demand hit a four-year high during the third quarter of 2020.

Tenant demand hit a four-year high during the third quarter of 2020.

Nearly a third of landlords reported rising tenant demand during the three months to the end of September, the highest level since the third quarter of 2016.

The survey of more than 700 landlords also found one in 10 landlords reporting significant growth.

However, a clear regional divide in tenant demand appeared, with the strongest increases in the North West and South West, where almost half of landlords saw growth, followed by the East Midlands.

The weakest demand was seen in central London, with just 16 per cent of landlords seeing growth in the last three months.

Outer London was slightly stronger, with a quarter of landlords recording rising demand.

Paragon Bank managing director of mortgages Richard Rowntree said: “The record levels of tenant demand we saw being reported by the likes of Rightmove and Zoopla when the housing market reopened in May has started to feed through to landlords as tenants reassess where and how they want to live.

“Central London is clearly seeing the impact of Airbnb style landlords moving property into long-term lettings, as well as a desire for larger properties.

“Outside of London, demand is buoyant from the East of England, where 27 per cent of landlords are reporting growth in demand, to the North East and South West, where nearly half of respondents are telling us they are seeing positive growth.”

He added: “We expect this to continue for the foreseeable future and there’s a number of factors we’re seeing at play.

For example, there’s been growth in homeowners taking advantage of strong prices and selling to move into rented, people are looking to secure a new home ahead of entering a potential second lockdown, while students left it late to secure property for the new academic year.”